Much has changed in the Middle East during the past two years, and not to Turkey’s advantage. As a result, Turkey is now seeking to contain a rapidly deteriorating regional security situation.
Although Russia seeks to remain the critical broker between Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition, its stance on Syria is beginning to shift as the prospects for Assad's long-term rule diminish.
Russia’s intransigence in the face of intense international pressure to halt the violence in Syria is confusing to much of the world, but there are real Russian financial and strategic interests at stake over Syria.
The Russian government may be changing its attitude towards Syria and penalizing the Assad regime for failing to heed Moscow's advice.
The fact that the Red Cross has appealed to Putin for authorization to provide humanitarian relief to Syria proves that Russia has become an indispensable player in dealing with the Assad regime.
Russia has the opportunity to move beyond saving the doomed Syrian regime to save the country itself from civil war and devastation and to bring about a political transition that leads to a stable and democratic Syria.
While the world’s democracies have discussed the options for bringing a stop to the slaughter in Syria, far less time has been spent identifying the options that remain for Assad himself.
Although Russia has already missed its opportunity to salvage key political and economic interests in Syria, it will likely continue to oppose foreign military intervention and efforts aimed at regime change.
While Turkey considers its options and resolutions stall in the United Nations, Ankara is preparing for a post-Assad Syria, developing contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Syrian opposition forces.
While there are a number of reasons behind Moscow’s stance on Syria, confronting the West and increasing tension in their relations with the broader Middle East is at odds with Russia’s wider interests.